Fukushima Now

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TYPE
: Transmedia Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Pre-Production

LOGLINE

FUKUSHIMA NOW is an interdisciplinary Film/VR documentary about the 2011 Fukushima accident on its 10th anniversary.

SYNOPSIS

FUKUSHIMA NOW is an interdisciplinary Film/VR documentary about the 2011 Fukushima accident on its 10th anniversary. The project uses film and VR (virtual reality) to take viewers to the heart of Fukushima and meet the survivors living in the shadow of the crisis today.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

The storytelling potential of FUKUSHIMA NOW is diverse and rich. The project will leverage different formats to tell this story. The short documentary includes film vignettes that will capture the human stories. These will function like short films, each one capturing the voices of different survivors as they chronicle their life before, during, and after the crisis. To best convey Fukushima’s current state, we're utilizing VR production to document the evacuated towns. The unique advantage of VR is that we can leverage tools such as environmental storytelling and spatialized audio to create an immersive VR film that exists both in the past and present. Audiences are invited to participate in the storytelling and explore the broken stores, abandoned schools, empty homes as Fukushima locals narrate what life was like before the disaster. Audiences will be listening to the past, while seeing the present. Experiencing a story like this (in both the past and present) is perfectly suited to Fukushima, a place still frozen in time a decade later. We’re also utilizing photogrammetry for some of the VR scenes. This involves taking 3D scans of the Fukushima environment and architecture, and bringing those scans into a virtual 3D space that can be viewed in VR. We’re collaborating with award-winning photographer Giles Prices on the art direction. In 2019, he photographed the people and surrounding towns in Fukushima using a thermographic camera which created infrared images of its subjects. The result was a powerful documentation which revealed the hidden stresses of those affected by the nuclear disaster, while also raising questions about the broader impact of manmade catastrophes on our environment. We’re taking the same inferred art direction and adapting it into VR for this project. This artistic rendering will allow viewers to see beyond the surface of Fukushima, and view the infrared art direction as commentary on the pain and anguish that still lurks underneath Fukushima.

KEY CREW

Arif Khan - Director
Arif Khan is a British writer & director, based in LA and San Francisco. He previously held roles at Airbnb Creative Studio and Warner Animation Group before joining Oculus Story Studio, the Emmy award-winning Facebook team dedicated to the research and development of virtual reality storytelling. Prior to studying Film Production at USC - School of Cinematic Arts, he earned his Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. He is currently a VR Producer at Wevr, an interactive film studio based in Venice, CA working on an unannounced project led by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Lion King).

Zekia Zhan - Producer
Zekia Zhan is a filmmaker, designer and media artist with an emphasis in new media technologies. She received her B.A in Creative Media from City University of Hong Kong, where she was exposed to various areas of art, filmmaking, and design. She then attended USC - School of Cinematic Arts for an MFA in Game & Interactive Media Design. She’s coded for interactive projects, built video installations, produced short films, worked extensively on animation and graphic design projects and developed for AR and VR experiences. She previously worked at ByteDance and FoxNext, and is currently a Game/VR Producer at the Walt Disney Company.

Auden Bui - Cinematographer
Auden Bui is a DGA award winning director and cinematographer. Before graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, she received her B.A. from the University of California Berkeley where she won the Eisner Award for Photo-Imaging. At USC, she studied directing while discovering her love for cinematography. In addition to a DGA award, she also received awards from The Caucus Foundation, Irving Lerner Endowment Fund, and the Charles and Lucille King Foundation for her M.F.A. thesis, The Lost City of Tomorrow.

Ainslee Robson - VR Designer / Tech Director
Ainslee Robson is an Ethiopian-American director and writer who crafts immersive stories about tensions embedded within the intersectional layers of identity, perception, the digital, and nostalgia. She is passionate about social justice and harnesses storytelling as a vehicle for meaningful discussion through productive images and narratives of Ethiopia and Blackness to change the Western gaze and misrepresented narratives of Africa. She made her directorial debut with Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir, an an experimental narrative about her personal experience growing up as an Ethiopian-American in Cleveland, Ohio. Ferenj screened at festivals worldwide including Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, and Kaohsiung Film Festival.

Giles Price - Photographer
Giles Price is a London-based photographer whose work explores the impact of cultural, environmental and political phenomena. Price has BA in Photographic Studies from the University of Derby and his work has been exhibited at The Photographers Gallery and Australian War Memorial. His photographs are held in the permanent collections at National Portrait Gallery and Imperial War Museum in London. Price is a contributor to various international publications including The New York Times, Guardian, and Telegraph Magazine.

 

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ACCOLADES

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The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2021

 

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